In my role as a financial advisor and wealth coach, I make it my business to pay close attention to the secrets of successful people. Financial success isn’t mystical, and it isn’t out of reach. The truth is that the supply of money is infinite, and everyone can have enough of it. What we lack is a fundamental understanding of the habits that make financial success the most likely outcome.
In my 15 years of working closely with millionaires and multimillionaires, I’ve discovered that those who have achieved and maintain financial freedom have the following seven secrets:
Secret #1: They Have an Empowered and Positive Mindset
The wealthy believe anything is possible and they’ll do what it takes to get there. Mindset is the foundation for everything when it comes to your finances. Mindset is the difference between you and Warren Buffett, Oprah, Mark Zuckerberg, and all of our other wealth mentors in life, and that’s why it’s at the top of the list. This is the major difference between my most wealthy clients and the people I see who get themselves into trouble over and over again.
Steve Siebold, author of the best-selling book How Rich People Think, has interviewed more than 1,200 millionaires and billionaires since 1984 — so at this point he has conducted a 30-year longitudinal study. And the conclusion Siebold finally came to after all of those interviews is that being rich isn’t about money. It’s about psychology.
In other research, Tom Corley observed 233 wealthy people and 128 people living in poverty for five years, and found significant differences in their daily activities and attitudes. For example, according to Corley, the following describes the wealthy people he studied:
- 98 percent believe in limitless possibilities.
- 94 percent avoid gossiping.
- 94 percent enjoy their career.
- 87 percent report being happily married.
- 67 percent are careful about how they spend their time. For example, they often limit watching TV to just an hour a day.
Secret #2: They Stay Highly Cash Flow Positive
Financially successful people choose a lifestyle where they live below their means and they save money consistently. If they need to have a dual income household, they do that. If they need to not live in their dream house, they do that.
I know someone is not prioritizing living below their means when they say to me, “I have to have that. That’s for my job, or that’s for my kid, or I just need that to be happy.” Those are the kinds of thoughts that people use to justify spending they cannot afford. When I hear these justifications, I know that person is going to struggle financially.
Secret #3: They Prioritize Building Wealth
Warren Buffett said, “Don’t save what’s left over after spending, spend what’s left over after saving.” He also said, “If you buy things you don’t need, you will soon be selling the things you do need.”
Wealthy people have learned not just the skill of earning money, but also the skill of preserving it. When it comes to being wealthy, it isn’t about how much you get to spend, it’s about how much you get to keep.
Secret #4: They Have a Financial Plan
The wealthy reverse engineer their success. So many people I talk with don’t know their household income, their net worth, or their monthly overhead. These are the basics, and without these numbers, we’re lost.
The wealthy know their numbers and set attainable goals. Rather than, “I want to be a millionaire,” for example, an attainable goal might be, “I’m going to bring in an extra $30,000 this year.” And that goal can be attained by careful planning and strategic action.
Secret #5: They Surround Themselves With People Committed to Success
There is a famous quote by Jim Rohn, an entrepreneur, who said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
You probably have the experience of being in a relationship with someone who wasn’t happy for your success, and your natural inclination may have been to hide it or pretend it isn’t happening. It’s important to realize that the people you spend your time with really do matter.
Wealthy, successful people are very particular about who they associate with. Their goal is to develop and foster relationships with other success-minded individuals.
Secret #6: They Take the Time to Create Successful Systems With Money to Automate Their Success
Wealthy people make room in their lives for the curveballs that life throws and they protect their systems from going off the rails. I cannot overstate the power of systems — I have created my special brand of automation, which I completely credit with my own financial success. My clients have used automation to literally find more money than they knew they had, as well as pay off tens of thousands of dollars in debt and dramatically grow their net worth.
Automating your money is the alternative to budgeting — there’s some math involved, but you really only have to do it once. Then you set up automatic transfers and it works like miracles.
Secret #7: They Invest Their Money Successfully to Enjoy the Benefits of Compound Returns
You can’t get wealthy by stuffing your savings in your mattress! The magic of wealth-building is that you can get to a place where your money actually makes more money for you, passively, than you make at your job or in your business. And anybody can do it! No matter what your income is, it’s simply a matter of putting the previous six points to work for you and getting yourself connected to a successful investment philosophy and portfolio.
Hilary Hendershott is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.